By the time I showed up Saturday morning, I was really nervous. I felt embarrassed to be the only one (it seemed) with a bike for riding around town instead of speed. Mark came to see me off and give me moral support, which I really appreciated. I hoped everyone would pass me quickly so that I could just ride at my own pace without feeling so self-conscious. The 100 mile riders and 70 mile riders all started earlier, and at 7:15 am, our 50-miler group was off.
At the first rest area, they had really good breakfast food that I didn't feel hungry to eat, and bike repairs offered. My bike chain had started squeaking continuously as I pedaled, so I asked if they could oil my chain. The guy was so nice. I was embarrassed about my bike again, and he was very complimentary: probably just to help me feel good. He also adjusted my shifters so that I could get into 8th gear (my highest) which wasn't working before. Yeah! I rode off feeling like I'd had a free tune up.
Then I hit the hill challenge. It was about a mile and a half and looked straight up from the bottom. I was determined to ride up the whole thing, even if I had to rest and then ride some more. It seems really hard to walk a bike up a hill after pedaling so hard; I've tried it. Not far into riding up, I realized that everyone on the hill was walking their bikes. They yelled encouragements to me when I passed. Bikers are nice! Seriously! Once I was done, I felt like the rest of the ride was in the bag.
Somewhere after that, I started having random thoughts like, "I should have shaved my legs," and "These bike shorts really helped! I'm only getting really sore right now!" Some ladies taking a break on the side of the road told me I was doing really well with that kind of a bike. So nice!
The weather was fantastic: cooler than it'd been in weeks, and overcast. Kind of sticky, but worth it to have the sun behind clouds.
At the 40 mile rest stop, I was really glad I still had 10 miles to go, because I still felt good. The ride back in to Logan was fun, but I could start to really feel the tired muscles.
Mark and the little kids came to meet me at the finish line. Lots of bystanders cheered, which was really fun. What a great ride! I'm so glad I did it, and I have to admit, it's a lot easier and more fun for me than running. I'm taking a couple of days off now to rest my aching muscles and knees. I forgot to look at my time when I rode through the finish arch, but it was pretty close to 5 hours and 20 minutes. And I didn't finish last.